It never hurts to eat extra veggies, right? These rich, chocolate Zucchini Brownies are made with a not-so-secret ingredient that keeps them extra moist! The simple chocolate icing poured over the brownie base makes these extra special and decadent.
During the summer we are always looking for new and different ways to use up our garden-fresh zucchini. Sometimes we make Zucchini Noodles, but most of the time it's these brownies or one of our other favorite zucchini recipes are Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread, Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread, and Zucchini Bread with Walnuts.
Zucchini in brownies? Really?
Before you start knocking on vegetables in brownies, think about how moist and wonderful shredded carrots make carrot cake. Or how zucchini bread is super moist and delicious. Adding finely grated zucchini does the same miraculous thing to brownies.
You won't actually taste the zucchini once the brownies are baked. But it's a great way to use up all that fresh zucchini from the garden. And the zucchini replaces the eggs in traditional brownie recipes (there are none in this one) in terms of providing moisture and binding for the batter.
Fudgy vs. cakey brownies
I want to be straightforward with you here. These brownies learn more towards the cakey-side of the line as opposed to being fudgy brownies. They are a bit lighter and fluffier than most brownie recipes that I typically make, in case you are a die-hard fan of fudgy brownies only.
In my experience, I have seen and tried other recipes using zucchini in brownies that claim to be fudgy, but I have yet to actually try one that lives up to what I consider true fudginess. But at the same time, these are more dense than what I think of as zucchini cake. Hence the brownie moniker.
In reality, the dessert sort of straddles the line between both worlds. Although the super moist to the point of being "wet" icing helps pull them toward the realm of brownie-dom by giving them that solidly fudgy flavor.
The icing gets poured instead of spread over the brownies so it kind of soaks in. Unlike frosting that you spread on and swirl with a knife, the simple icing is smooth and shiny. It barely sets to a crackly finish on the top, while underneath is a layer that's fudgy and one of our favorite things about these zucchini brownies. The unusual texture of the icing and rich chocolate brownie beneath is heaven!
Our youngest child seriously hasn't stopped talking about these brownies since I made them and keeps asking to make them again. I'm pretty sure she would choose zucchini brownies over a more classic brownie any day of the week.
How to make zucchini brownies
- Start by combining sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla in a large bowl and mixing well. Then add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, mixing until combined. At this point, things will be very dry and crumbly.
- This is where it gets fun! Add the shredded zucchini and stir it in. Don't peel or squeeze the zucchini first. Almost immediately the zucchini will start to release it's moisture (it's 95% water after all), but let the batter sit for another 5-10 minutes before stirring again and spreading into a 9x13-inch pan lined with a foil or parchment paper sling. It's amazing how much different the batter is after that short period where the zucchini "sweats" out some of it's water.
- Bake the brownies for about 25-30 minutes. The brownies are done when you press on the top and it bounces right back to the touch. If your finger leaves an impression, let the brownies bake a minute or two longer, but don't overbake.
- While the brownies cool a bit, make the icing by whisking melted butter with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla in a bowl. Pour over the brownies and let set for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. These are especially good chilled and will keep in the fridge for about 3 days, although they have never lasted that long at our house.
More chocolate recipes
- Homemade Brownies
- One-Bowl Chocolate Cake
- Chewy Brownie Cookies
- Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
- Nutella Brownies
- Chocolate Texas Sheet Cake
- Mississippi Mud Brownies
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded zucchini
- 1 cup chocolate chips optional
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup salted butter melted
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with a foil or parchment paper sling for easy removal once the brownies are done.
- Combine the sugar, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl, mixing well with an electric mixer.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, soda, and salt. Mix again until a crumbly, dry mixture forms.
- Add the zucchini and stir or fold it in with a large wooden spoon or spatula. The batter will be quite thick and dry at first. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes so the shredded zucchini can release it's moisture, then stir again. The batter should now be thick but spreadable, somewhere between cookie dough and classic homemade brownie batter.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan, using the back of a spatula to push it into the corners. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the brownies spring back to a touch rather than leaving an indentation.
- Let the brownies cool for thirty minutes. While they cool, prepare the chocolate icing by whisking powdered sugar, cocoa powder, melted butter, milk, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Pour over the cooled brownies, then let the brownies set for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving. These brownies are best at room temperature or chilled from the fridge.
- The amount of moisture can vary from one zucchini to another. If you have really, really dry zucchini and the batter is crazy thick and not coming together at all, you can add water, a little at a time, up to ¼ cup just to help the batter come together. It should be thick, somewhere between brownie batter and cookie dough, and you may need to press it into the corners of your pan with a spatula since it likely won't spread on its own.
- The brownies will keep at room temperature on the counter for 2 days, or in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Adapted from All Recipes.
Reader questions and reviews
This is definitely a keeper. Used butter and two tablespoons plain yogurt instead of oil. Did add 1/4 cup buttermilk after mixing in zucchini. Moist, yummy. Directions good.
Nope! None needed thanks to the moisture of the zucchini!
Can these be frozen without the icing?